Baby Gabriel Mom Elizabeth Johnson Found Guilty of Three Charges, but Not Kidnapping
Nearly three years after 8-month-old Gabriel Johnson was reported missing, the boy's mother, Elizabeth Johnson, was not found guilty of kidnapping. However, a jury did find her guilty of unlawful imprisonment and two custodial-interference charges.
The kidnapping charge is the one that Johnson's attorney really fought -- it could have landed Johnson in prison for more than two decades.
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Johnson's attorney, Marc Victor -- who's also running as a Libertarian for U.S. Senate, against Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona -- faced a seemingly impossible task in defending his client.
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Victor, who didn't call any witnesses during the trial, attempted to explain the situation to the jury in his closing arguments -- yes, Gabriel is still missing. Yes, the jurors probably hate Johnson, and yes, she's a liar.
However, Victor was trying to pound it into the jury's head that they really only needed to decide one thing -- whether Johnson committed the act of kidnapping.
Prosecutors did spend a good amount of time pretty much painting Johnson as a heartless monster, like their repeated references to the text messages Johnson sent claiming that she'd killed Gabriel. Again, Victor wanted to talk kidnapping.
Victor didn't really contest the custodial-interference charges, but offered a few defenses on the kidnapping charge. Since prosecutors don't know what happened to Gabriel, Victor brought up scenarios that he said didn't amount to kidnapping.
Indeed, the jury appeared to agree. The judge explained that the jury could not decide on the kidnapping charge, but did agree to find Johnson guilty of unlawful imprisonment.
The unlawful imprisonment charge she was convicted on is classified as a domestic-violence charge, which means there could be a possibility that Johnson won't have to serve any more jail time, since she's been jailed since early 2010.
Immediately after the verdict was read, the "aggravation phase" began, which can affect the sentence Johnson receives. We'll keep you posted on the details.
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